Children's Literature - Children's Literature
In this lengthy and more serious tale than his usual, the other animals lose patience with the lazy King of Beasts and rebel. Leo realizes that they don't really need him. Still, as he helps a small mouse, a porcupine, and a hurt rhinoceros, he and the other animals come to a peaceful understanding. Full and double-page soft-edged paintings, with decorative edges to the text, use just a few props and quite naturalistically rendered animals to convey Leo's adventures.
Children's Literature - Wendy Pollock-Gilson
Leo the lion learns what it really takes to be a king after the animals dethrone him for being arrogant and lazy. He realizes that by helping others including taking a mouse across a brook and assisting a rhinoceros with a bump on his head that a king earns his crown by serving his subjects. By the author of Rainbow Fish, this is a thoughtful story for young children about using power and responsibilities to help others. The delightful animal pictures combined with a positive message make this an enjoyable story that parents and teachers will want to share with children.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Leo the lion, King of the Beasts, is deposed by the other animals who feel that he is lazy and inconsiderate. He learns that he is dispensable and that only by listening to and assisting others can a group member warrant the title of "king." He states at the end, "But I don't need a crown and a throne to rule. After all, while I may be king, I'm still just an animal like all of you." The message is heavy-handed and the resolution is pat. The text seems stilted and predictable, perhaps due to translation. The book's saving grace is its lovely watercolor illustrations. Children will gravitate toward Pfister's artwork, even without the sparkling additions that he used in Rainbow Fish (North-South, 1992). In a world of violence and power abuse, primary-grade children need to know that kindness and thoughtfulness can prevail - and that message comes through loud and clear. It is just a pity that the text doesn't match the verve of the illustrations. An additional title to meet the customer demand for other Pfister offerings. Mollie Bynum, formerly at Chester Valley Elementary School, Anchorage, AK
A king is deposed, a lesson is learned, and a message is delivered, all in the pages of a quick-moving, intriguing tale of the jungle. Pfister's prose flows jauntily as he describes Leo, a pompous and pretty useless king of beasts. When a humble warthog complains about Leo's ceaseless roaring and is about to be smacked into the next kingdom, another beast intervenes, and Leo is banished as the extraneous member he is. Leo is stunned: "It has always been this way. Why should I change?" But he observes that everyone gets along fine without him, and further notices that he can be of help to others; after completing several acts of charity, he is welcomed back. Eschewing the trappings of crown and throne, Leo understands that it is a privilege to serve. The pages feature inviting colors of the savannah: rich greens and complex combinations of tans and browns. Pfister creates the animals in his trademark wet-on-wet technique, but when the facial expressions are crucial, he brings in details and puts the message in focus.